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NC Bishops Express Disappointment With New NIH Guidelines

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Statement of the Catholic Bishops of North Carolina Regarding NIH Guidelines for Human Embryonic Stem Cell Research

We, the Catholic Bishops of North Carolina, join His Eminence, Justin Cardinal Rigali, Chairman of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops’ Committee on Pro-Life Activities, in deploring the unethical guidelines adopted by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) regarding human embryonic stem cell research on July 6.

Embryonic stem cell research requires the destruction of a human embryo, a human life.  These guidelines permit the death of human life in order to pursue unpromising research in the hope of curing genetic defects and other serious infirmities. 

We support science that pursues the laudable goal of healing people of such defects and infirmities but not at the cost of taking another human life in the process.  Adult stem cell research, which does not result in the destruction of a human embryo, has shown tremendous promise in the race to cure genetic defects and serious infirmities.  This research, which respects both science and ethics, should be the place where we target our federal tax dollars.

We implore the Catholics of North Carolina to contact their elected representatives in Congress and urge them to support only legislation that will fund adult stem cell research.  We believe it is imperative that Catholics make their legislators aware that we take our obligation seriously to participate in the development of public policy as faithful citizens of the United States and will continue to press for policies that are scientifically promising and ethical.

If you would like to contact your Congressional representatives, please use the following link which will allow you to express your concerns as a Catholic and as a registered voter.  See:  www.usccb.org/stemcellcampaign.  If you would like to read Cardinal Rigali’s statement, please go to:  www.usccb.org/comm/archives/2009/09-155.shtml.   
Please join us in prayer and advocacy as we seek to restore ethics to scientific research and public policy on this issue.

Sincerely in Christ,

Most Reverend Peter J. Jugis
Bishop of Charlotte

Most Reverend Michael F. Burbidge
Bishop of Raleigh